Poor posture isn’t just bad for your back and shoulders – it also puts your core to sleep. Stand straight with this quick 10 minute workout focussed on reigniting ab muscles.
Hands up if you have a sore back, crunchy neck or stiff shoulders (assuming you can put your hand up without feeling a twinge, that is)? Yep, home furniture is not our posture’s friend, especially when stooped over laptops on sofas or dining chairs for 8 hours a day. But hunched backs have all kinds of ramifications, including fatigue, shallow breathing and poor digestion – so sit up and listen: these effective core exercises will strengthen your centre so you’re standing tall and proud.
SINGLE ARM FARMERS CARRY
Grab a heavy kettlebell (if you don’t have one, pick up something heavy such as a big container of cat litter, a chair or anything else that feels heavy and has a handle to grip). Hold the kettlebell (or makeshift weight) in your right hand. While keeping your back and arm straight (down at your sides), walk forward in a straight line. By engaging your core and retracting the shoulders, you should be able to walk with the weight hanging straight down – rather than dragging alongside you or bumping into your leg.
Walk 20 steps on one side. Repeat on other side.
SIDE PLANK WITH ROTATION
Lie on your side, resting one forearm on the ground (with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder). Lift your body up so that only your forearm and feet are on the ground (feet can be stacked or placed one in front of the other). Be sure to keep your body in a straight line like a plank of wood – without your bum sticking out behind you or hips thrusting forward. Then, stretch the opposite arm above your head toward the sky, pause and bring the same arm back down, reaching underneath your waist toward the wall behind you.
Do 10 reps each side
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Lie on the floor and engage your abs by driving your lower back into the ground. Next, raise your legs (keeping them straight) several inches above the ground before raising your arms (also keeping them straight) behind your head. If this feels too challenging, bend the knees. You can also place the arms in line with the shoulders instead of over your head. The most important thing is to keep your lower back flat against the floor.
Hold for 45 seconds. Complete 3 rounds of entire set.
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Miranda Larbi is a freelance fitness and wellness journalist, and qualified personal trainer. When she’s not finding new vegan places to eat, she can be found training for the next marathon or cycling across London on a Tokyo bike.